Heads of players unions have been holding 'sports-gambling summits'

The heads of the players’ unions of the four major U.S. sports have held several formal meetings over the last year-and-a-half to discuss the ramifications legalized sports betting may have on their members, MMQB reports.

While gambling on sports is allowed in four states, in full form just in Nevada, there is an acknowledgement that it is going to be more widely legalized, perhaps even nationally, in the near future. Plus, the NFL and NHL are both placing franchises in Las Vegas, and NBA commissioner Adam Silver, whose league held its All-Star Game in Vegas in 2007, is a proponent of legalized betting.


The “sports-gambling summits” held over the last 18 months have been attended by executive directors DeMaurice Smith (NFLPA), Tony Clark (MLBPA), Michele Roberts (NBPA) and Donald Fehr (NHLPA).

“Yes, the sports unions have been discussing the issue, in particular around the integrity of our respective games,” NFLPA executive George Atallah told MMQB on Thursday. “We’re collaborating on it. We might be open to changes that are coming because of (legalized sports gambling), but before we get to the revenue aspect of it, do we have the infrastructure in place to prevent any sort of shenanigans? That’s the issue.”


While legalized gambling would bring with it a heightened sensitivity to the possibility of games being fixed, conventional wisdom within the betting community says that legalizing betting would add a layer of protection against games being fixed. 

No one wants a game to be on the level more than bookmakers, who are always looking out for irregular betting patterns.